Wet Ghost City

Javier Sandoval
| poetry


Back in Seattle’s sloshy+++glopped winter months,+++I’d lean my Boulevard
round the rain-glittered+++pizza-joint neon lights,+++the lonely hug-starved
waiting politely for buses,+++the frustrated gusts+++of frost from the bay,
like one would shove+++through a drunk pool-+++playing crowd on the way
to the loo, subtly hoping+++for a fight on the other side+++of the door
to end it all, ++++++++++++God, please please +++++++++let this be
my last piss.++++++In this manner I heaved+++that chrome-sparked Boulevard
through the street ++++++puddles.

The first crash++++++++is obvious—face-+++plant the moto
down the slick hill one +++splattered night. +++The other crashes:
always gravel, waiting, +++peeking its head round +++the bend, for you to lean
and show your belly +++to its gnarly rock, +++then water on the street
sweeping the machine +++from your thighs.

Of course I had no friends; +++I couldn’t handle +++any. It’s strange
to need +++++++++++++your greatest tragedy.

Big yellow-eyed ++++++buildings, +++you see the skyscrapers,
they peer sleepy +++and sad down to you. +++What a wet ghost city.

Sometimes a fight can +++warm you like a hug: +++the tender blossom
of initial contact, ++++++the firm +++++support of cold concrete
when it’s done.

Javier Sandoval grew up in the Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico and studied creative writing under Forrest Gander and John Wideman at Brown University. He now teaches at the University of Alabama where he also serves as Poetry Editor of Black Warrior Review. His own cross-genre work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Narrative, Indiana Review, Salt Hill, and FOLIO, and his first poetry chapbook, Blue Moon Looming, will be published by CutBank in 2024.

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